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When involuntary employment terminations become necessary, employers often seek protection from possible post-employment claims by conditioning severance pay on the signing of a general release and agreement not to sue. As a general rule, such waivers are enforceable if they are “knowing and voluntary.” Less clear, however, is under what circumstances an employer may condition severance payments on a promise by the departing employee that he/she will not pursue a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in connection with an allegation of discrimination, harassment or retaliation.

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